Friday, January 31, 2014

Tiger & Bunny: The Rising at Hollywood Theater, March 15 and 16.



Today the Hollywood Theater in Dormont (map) announced a screening of the upcoming Japanese animated film Tiger & Bunny: The Rising on March 15 and March 16. Tickets are $15 and are available online for both shows (15th and 16th) from 1:00 pm on January 31.

Chinaman's festal period.



The Mansfield Daily Shield out of Mansfield, PA, profiled the Lunar New Year in 1902. The language and the tone are about what one would expect, though the piece does tell us how many Chinese women lived in Pittsburgh at the time:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ahead of the Lunar New Year on January 31, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at "how to shop at Pittsburgh's Asian markets" and profiles several of the region's largest East Asian grocery stores.
Here in Pittsburgh, four markets are big draws for the city's Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese communities. Lotus Food Co. at 1649 Penn Ave. is perhaps the most well-known. With its prime location in the heart of the Strip, and the allure of house-made tofu, Lotus attracts a diverse clientele. On a typical Saturday morning, customers stand shoulder to shoulder in checkout lines.

Wang Fat Hong, just up the block at 2227 Penn Ave., is another stalwart. Open since 1995, it caters to both restaurant and retail customers. Further down the Strip, shoppers are being courted by the newest Asian store, Many More Market, which is looking to appeal to students. And up on McKnight Road, three-year-old Oriental Market caters to suburban customers.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Japanese animated short film Possessions at Regent Square Theater, from January 31.



On January 31, the Regent Square Theater (map) will present the five pieces nominated for an Oscar in the Short Films (Animated) category for 2014, one of which is the Japanese short Possessions. Toonzone provides a summary:
[A] wanderer in Japan is caught in a storm and seeks shelter in a seemingly abandoned house. However, he soon finds that perhaps he should have taken his chances in the storm, as he is confronted with a succession of bizarre household objects come to life, threatening this intruder on their domain.

To some degree, “Posssessions” is a “how are we getting there?” story. The short exploits enough visual tricks and hints early on that we’re not that surprised when something leaps out at the unnamed traveler and goes, “Boo!” What is surprising is the form that these spooks take, and the traveler’s reaction to them. The burly traveler is coarse and unrefined, reminding me of Toshiro Mifune’s performance as Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai, but he is also quite resourceful and surprisingly unflappable. Much of the fun of “Possessions” comes from waiting for the form of whatever strange household item is about to turn up; much of the rest comes from seeing how the traveler’s initial shock turns to adapting and enduring.
The program of five films begins on Friday, January 31, at 7:00 pm. Additional times for the first week available via the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Documentaries on Vietnam, Cambodia in 2014 Asia Unreeled Film Series.



Winchester Thurston School recently announced its lineup for the 2014 Asia Unreeled Film Series, and this February's installment will feature documentaries on Vietnam and Cambodia. On February 8, As the Call, So the Echo:
Director Keir Moreano’s record of his father’s experience as a volunteer doctor in Vietnam in 2003 as a journey of a professional who has come to question the difference he makes in the lives of his patients in the U.S., and finds renewed passion in his calling spending several weeks conducting surgeries and training staff in a hard-pressed hospital in Hue.
And on February 23, A River Changes Course:
Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize Documentary at Sundance, A River Changes Course tells the story of three families living in contemporary Cambodia as they face hard choices forced by rapid development and struggle to maintain their traditional ways of life as the modern world closes in around them.
Both films are free and open to the public, and will play at Shadyside's Winchester Thurston School (map) at 2:00 pm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Korean BBQ is not long for Pittsburgh.


Via Google Maps.

I often drove by the Korean-language 영빈관 sign on the door of Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar and only recently learned it closed. A 2006 Pittsburgh City-Paper review called it "a jewel box of authentic Korean and Japanese cuisine", and a July 2004 Post-Gazette review lists a few other places in the city that offered Korean barbeque:
Unfortunately, few joints offer Korean barbecue in Pittsburgh; Sushi Kim, Jimmy's Korean Grill at Jimmy Tsang's and Ginza are the noble few.
Three of the four, including Young Bin Kwan, are now closed, and the fourth has sushi in the name. Bad news for the local Redditor looking for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ places last week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chinese New Year Celebration at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, February 1.


Via Steel Dragon Kung Fu and Lion Dance.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (map) will host a Chinese New Year Celebration from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on February 1.
Celebrate the Chinese year 4712, the year of the Horse, with Silk Screen Asian Arts and Culture Organization. Make art, enjoy live music, and join the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team for a parade through the Museum for the finale!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lecture "The Foundations of Korean Wave (Hallyu)" at Pitt, February 10.

The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Music will host Dr. Keith Howard and his lecture "The Foundations of Korean Wave (Hallyu)" on February 10. An early summary:
The beginnings of Korean Wave are typically linked to the term 'hallyu', denoting South Korean cultural exports to China and Taiwan. The ability of South Korea's cultural producers to seize these export opportunities was facilitated by early 1990s changes in domestic consumption and production, which soon made South Korea's recorded music industry the second largest in Asia, despite the Asian financial crisis that followed. Today, the South Korean music industry has shifted from a fan-oriented service business to business servicing, and to a model in which music is made freely available to consumers – as 'Gangnam Style' demonstrated. However, theories explaining the Wave struggle to catch up with reality. Accounts of Korean Wave typically situate it within frames of post-colonialism, nationalism and neoliberalism, and there is an increasing divergence between foreign and local commentaries. My presentation looks back to K-pop in the early 1990s, and charts through two decades to Psy's 'Gangnam Style'.
The free lecture runs from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in room 4130 Posvar Hall (map). Dr. Howard is a professor in the University of London's Department of Music. He gave a similar presentation in October 2013 at the First World Congress on Hallyu, where he was the keynote speaker. His article "The Foundations Of Hallyu– K-Pop’s Coming Of Age" is available online.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Magnifico at Pitt, January 28.



The University of Pittsburgh Global Ties group and Filipino Student Association will present the Filipino film Magnifico on January 28. The Tribeca Film Festival summarizes:
In a poor village outside of Manila, nine-year-old Magnifico does his best to bring joy to his family despite difficult circumstances. His sister is handicapped, his brother just dropped out of college, his parents struggle to make ends meet, and his grandmother thinks the end is near. But Magnifico remains optimistic. He secretly prepares for his grandmother's death by tailoring a dress for her and building and painting a beautiful coffin. He takes his sister to a street festival, which pleases her so much that she actually speaks for the first time. Time and again, Magnifico's kindly actions help his loved ones rise above the squalid conditions in which they live -- until an unexpected tragedy changes everything.
The movie will start at 6:30 pm in room 501 of the William Pitt Union. Admission is free.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru (生きる) at Melwood Screening Room, January 29.



The 1952 Japanese film Ikiru (生きる) will play at Oakland's Melwood Screening Room on January 29 as part of the occasional Essential Film Series.
Ikiru presents [Akira Kurosawa] at his most compassionate -- affirming life through an exploration of a man's death. Takashi Shimura portrays an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer forced to strip the veneer off his existence and find meaning in his final days. Told through a series of flashbacks, it looks at a life through a prism of perspectives.
The movie begins at 8:00 pm and tickets are $2. The theater is located at 477 Melwood Ave. (map).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Malaysian singer Yuna at Altar Bar, February 12.



Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna will be performing in Pittsburgh on February 12, at the Strip District's Altar Bar. Says MTV:
The ease with which Yuna has transitioned to border-defying mainstream success shouldn't be surprising, considering the effortlessly universal appeal of her organic blend of contemporary pop, acoustic folk and soulful R&B. The artist's personally charged songs are deeply felt yet melodically irresistible, combining her engaging voice and expressive songcraft with imaginative production to create wholly distinctive music that's won her comparisons with the likes of Feist, Adele and Norah Jones.
The show starts at 8:00, and tickets are available online.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lecture " Thailand as Transgender ‘Mecca’: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment" at Pitt, January 23.



The University of Pittsburgh's Women's Studies Program and Asian Studies Center will host Aren Aizura of Arizona State University and his lecture "Thailand as Transgender 'Mecca': Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment" on January 23. To quote from the above flyer:
Thailand is often described as the global "Mecca" of gender reassignment surgery, which cater almost exclusively to trans women-transitioning from male to female, although one or two surgeons cater to trans men.

This talk looks at Thailand's gender reassignment surgery clinics as part of a transnational imaginary of gender reassignment. This transnational imaginary consists in communities and connections that form across national boundaries, and that circulate practices, ideas, fantasies, anecdotes and information about gender reassignment across the uneven spaces of global/local modernity. Drawing on ethnographic research in gender clinics in Thailand and with trans women and men who obtained gender reassignment surgery there, the talk considers how understandings of Orientalized Thai femininity structured non-Thai patients' experiences of care, community, and transition in the space of the clinic and in tourist encounters with Thailand. By questioning the economic, colonial, and racial relations of "transgender travel", this research contributes a critical voice to the emerging field of transnational transgender studies.
The lecture is at 4:00 pm in room 602 of the Cathedral of Learning.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない) at Hollywood Theater in Dormont, January 18.



The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will have a one-time showing of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない on January 18.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster (一代宗師) at CMU, January 18.



Wong Kar Wai's latest film The Grandmaster (一代宗師) will play at Carnegie Mellon University next weekend as part of the Activities Board's Dollar Film Series. Showtimes are 8:00 and 10:30 pm on the 18th in McConomy Auditorium (campus map), and tickets are one dollar for those with a CMU student ID and $3 for those without.

Starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, the New York Times wrote in August:
a hypnotically beautiful dream from the Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, opens with curls of smoke, eddies of water and men soaring and flying across the frame as effortlessly as silk ribbons. The men are warriors, street fighters with furious fists and winged feet, who have massed together on a dark, rainy night to take on Ip Man (Tony Leung), a still figure in a long coat and an elegant white hat. Even amid the violent whirlpools of rain and bodies, that hat never leaves his head. It’s as unyielding as its owner.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Free candy for Kim Jong-un's birthday, January 8.

Conflict Kitchen will be handing out free candy tomorrow, January 8, for Kim Jong-un's birthday.
On Wednesday we will be handing out the same free candy that Kim Jong-Un is giving (in an insidious annual practice) to children throughout North Korea to celebrate his birthday.

Text as it appears on the candy insert:

세상에 부럼없어라
“NOTHING IN THE WORLD TO ENVY”
More at the Conflict Kitchen blog post. Conflict Kitchen is located in Oakland (map) and is "a restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict".

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q) at Dormont's Hollywood Theater, January 10 and 11.

Evangelion 3.0

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q) on January 10 and 11, and will be the only theater in the state with the movie on its North American premiere. Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo is the third installment of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy, of which the eponymous EvaWiki has lengthy summaries. Tickets are $10 and are available now online for both English-subtitled and English-dubbed shows:
- January 10, 7 pm (subtitled)
- January 10, 9 pm (dubbed)
- January 11, 7 pm (dubbed)
- January 11, 9 pm (subtitled)
The theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont (map), south of Pittsburgh. And if you'd like to take the subway to the theater, it's a little more than a block southeast of Potomac Station.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pittsburgh Tibetan Center Constructs Mandala for Peace, beginning January 12.

The Pittsburgh Tibetan Center
will construct a sand mandala for peace from Jan.12 to the 17th at Spinning Plate Gallery at 5720 Friendship Ave. The Center’s resident Lama, Ven. Khenpo Choephel, and visiting Lama Konchak Sonam will be creating the mandala each day from nine to five. The opening ceremony is at noon on Jan. 12. The mandala is believed to plant a seed of positive, compassionate energy in the mind of viewers and bring blessings of peace and compassion to the entire world by depositing the sand into a body of moving water on the last day.
The Three Rivers Dharma Center website adds:
During the days it will take to complete the mandala, the gallery will be open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm. Dharma Center members will be on hand to answer questions, and interpretive posters will be on display. There will also be a variety of events throughout the week, introducing viewers to this highly refined and meaningful art form and other aspects of Tibetan culture and spirituality.
Additional events are listed on the flyer above and on the Three Rivers Dharma Center site.

Japanese for Beginners at Carnegie Library - Squirrel Hill, from January 15.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Squirrel Hill branch (map) will offer a free Japanese for Beginners class on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, starting January 15. Classes begin at 5:30 pm, and the library is accessible via city buses 61A, 61B, 61C, 61D, 64, and 74. Registration is required, and can be done so online.

This offering has been added to the "Learn" page, along with several other free Japanese, Chinese, and Korean classes in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Library branches.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

"MEPPI Japan Lecture Series – Ten Things I Like About Osaka", January 23.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is presenting this year's first installment of the MEPPI Japan Lecture Series, "Ten Things I Like About Osaka":
Dr. Charles Exley, Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Film, will introduce Osaka City and the specific sub-culture found there. His talk will illustrate how Osaka’s geography, dialect, literary history, food, and manzai/humor make the culture unforgettable.
The talk will be held at the Residence Inn in Cranberry (map) from 5:30 to 7:00. Registration is required and can be done online, and those interested are requested to do so by January 16.